Okay, I’ve chronicled some seriously unhinged rants on this blog over the last 14 years, but this one make take the cake. Sheila Zilinsky, a Christian right fringe figure popular with the Dave Daubenmire set, says that the NFL protests are paving the way for those infamous FEMA concentration camps. I told you the NFL 
Another very interesting development. A bipartisan group of senators have submitted two similar bills that would likely prevent Trump from firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller, something he is clearly just dying to do. The bills would require judicial review of any such decision. Republican and Democratic senators introduced two pieces of legislation on Thursday seeking [Read More…]
Listen to the story on All Things Considered:
There’s a rich body of evidence that links chocolate to heart health.
Now comes a new study that finds people who consume small amounts of chocolate each week have a lower risk of developing atrial fibrillation, a heart condition characterized by a rapid or irregular heartbeat.
The rate of atrial fibrillation was 20 percent lower for people consuming two to six servings [of chocolate] per week compared with people who ate chocolate less than once per month, explains study author Elizabeth Mostofsky, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The findings are published in the journal BMJ Heart.
Atrial fibrillation, also known as AFib, can increase the risk of heart failure, stroke and cognitive impairment. It affects over 33 million people around the globe, and an estimated 25 percent of adults will develop the condition during their lifetime, according to an editorial published alongside the paper.
To assess how chocolate consumption can influence the risk of AFib, Mostofsky and her collaborators analyzed data from a Danish study the includes 55,000 people. All of the participants had completed detailed questionnaires about their lifestyles, everything from exercise habits to what they ate and drank, including how much chocolate they consumed.
These people were followed over time, explains Mostofsky. So we were able to identify all of the diagnoses of atrial fibrillation.
As we’ve reported, prior studies have found that habitual chocolate eaters seem to have lower risks of heart disease. Researchers have found that the compounds in cocoa, known as polyphenols, can improve vascular health by increasing blood flow. Cocoa compounds may also help suppress inflammation.
The rule of thumb is that dark chocolate is a better choice than milk chocolate, since dark chocolate typically contains more cocoa solids.
Many people in Denmark, where the study took place, typically consume milk chocolate. So Mostofsky says she wasn’t sure she’d find such a significant reduction in risk.
We were pleasantly surprised that – despite the fact that most of the chocolate may have [had] relatively low cocoa concentrations – we were still able to see robust findings, she says.
Now, these findings are not the green light to add lots of candy bars to your diet. Candy comes with lots of sugar and packs in calories, too. So – though this may seem obvious – moderation is key.
If you’re a chocolate lover, eat a nice, one-ounce piece of chocolate, says Tom Sherman, a professor at the Georgetown University Medical Center, who was not involved in the study.
The reduction in AFib was highest for people who consumed two to 6 servings of chocolate a week. But people who consumed just one serving a week had a reduced risk of the condition as well.
This study is not the final word on how chocolate consumption may influence heart health. And it’s possible that the reduction in AFib risk found in the chocolate eaters could be explained by other factors, too.
For instance, the accompanying editorial points out that the chocolate eaters in the study had less hypertension, less diabetes and lower blood pressure. Also, the chocolate eaters had higher levels of education, which is often associated with improved health status.
But the editorial concludes that regardless of these limitations, the findings are interesting and warrant further consideration.
Indeed, lots of researchers are involved in nailing down the potential health benefits of cocoa. As we’ve reported, scientists are now studying whether a chocolate pill made of cocoa extract can boost health.
Copyright 2017 NPR.
I wrote recently about Greg Gianforte, the Congressional candidate from Montana who supports slavery apologist and Christian Reconstructionist Douglas Wilson. On the eve of the election, Gianforte apparently decided to commit felony assault on a reporter asking him questions. I was a bit skeptical about this at first because all we had was audio of [Read More…]
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The Inspired Moto
I’m making a real effort to eat healthier in 2017: more salads, more veggies, more fruit, and less sugar and overly-processed foods. Stir-fry, lightened up curries, and roasted just-about-anything have made their way into my kitchen in a big way. Anything I can do to get more vegetables and lean proteins on the table is pretty alright with me.
This Thai-inspired curry is a huge family favorite and it is packed with both flavor and plenty of good stuff. In fact, it’s one of my 5-year-old daughter’s most-requested meals. It’s honestly not hard to make, and I’ve kept it low on the spice-o-meter so that she can better enjoy it (although she does like a bit of spice if I don’t mention it before serving it). If you want to amp it up, just throw a few Thai chilies or a jalapeño into the blender with everything else.
I usually make this with red bell pepper and green beans, but sugar snap peas, fresh peas, broccoli florets, and julienned zucchini would all work well. Just adjust the cooking time until they are tender. You can also easily swap out chicken breast for the thighs, just use skinless bone-in breasts, and simmer them gently and only until they are cooked through to avoid dry chicken meat. For a veggie version, just leave out the chicken and swap 2 tablespoons of low-sodium soy sauce for the fish sauce; add cubes of tofu with the veggies and you won’t need to simmer it nearly as long.
There are numerous Thai curry pastes out there. You can make your own, but as a working parent I honestly just don’t have time to do that. My two favorite brands are Mae Ploy and Maesri, so if you can seek those out, by all means do. Serve this over steamed brown rice (or white rice if you want to keep it a bit more classic) or just on its own.
Recipe: Green Chicken and Veggie Curry
Makes 6 servings
- 1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped, plus more for garnishing
- 2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar (optional)
- 2 tablespoons green curry paste
- Finely grated zest of 1 lime
- Juice of 2 limes
- Kosher salt
- 2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 6 or 7 thighs)
- 1 (13 1/2-ounce) can light or regular coconut milk, well shaken
- 1/2 pound green beans or sugar snap peas, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
- 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin 1-inch strips
- 4 green onions, trimmed and finely sliced
- Steamed rice, for serving
- In a blender or in the bowl of a food processor, combine the yellow onion, garlic, chicken broth, fish sauce, ¼ cup of the cilantro, brown sugar, curry paste, lime zest and juice. Process until smooth.
- Salt the chicken, then add to a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Pour the curry sauce over the top, submerging the chicken pieces. Bring to a low boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover partially, and simmer until the chicken is very tender, about 20 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate or cutting board. Add the coconut milk, green beans, bell pepper, and green onions to the saucepan. Simmer until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, shred the chicken, discarding any gristle or fat. When the vegetables are tender, return the chicken to the pot, simmering gently until it is warmed through.
- Serve over steamed rice, garnished with the remaining cilantro.